Corallus caninus

Range: Amazon Basin region of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Northern Bolivia, Brazil, and Venezuela to the Guianas

Habitat: This tropical species spends most of its life in trees, often in those with branches that hang over rivers.

Conservation status: Least Concern

Emerald Tree Boa

  • • Typically bright green with a white irregular zigzag stripe down the back and a yellow underside.
    • Juveniles are extremely variable in color and are often orange, or yellow, with irregular spotting. A few are born green.
    • Specimens from the Amazon River basin tend to grow the largest, attaining lengths of 7-9 feet, while the overall average size is closer to 6 feet. Those from the southern end of their range in Peru tend to be darker in color.
    • Solitary and ArborealNocturnal: typically spends its days in a characteristic coil over a tree branch with its head at the center. At night, it remains coiled, but extends its head downwards, curled as if about to strike. Prey is grasped with the long frontal teeth, pulled in and constricted.
    • Diet consists mostly of small mammals, but these boas may also eat frogs and lizards. Due to the extremely slow metabolism of this species, it feeds much less often than ground dwelling species and meals may be several months apart.
    • Detect prey primarily through sight and infrared heat receptors located in the labial (lip) scales. These heat-sensitive pits are critical for locating prey at night. Like other snakes, they also use their tongues and vomeronasal (Jacobson’s) organs to sense chemicals in the air.
    • Arboreal, but occasionally descend to the ground to bask in the sun.
    • Ovoviviparous (live birth from eggs held in body); typically breed alternate years.
    • Guianan crested eagles are the only known predators of the emerald tree boa.
    • Although similar in appearance to the green tree python of southeast Asia and Australia, it is only distantly related. This is an example of convergent evolution.
    o Physical differences include the head scale arrangement and the location of the heat pits around the mouth.
    o Both the Green Tree Python and Emerald Tree Boa go through color changes as they mature.

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